Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let the Sun Shine In!

Do you get the winter blahs?  It happens every January with me….I start feeling the blah feeling.  It hasn’t been as bad since I moved to sunny Arizona, but I still get it a little.  The best solution I have to fight the blahs is to clean my windows and let in some unfiltered (from the lack of dirt) light.  Both inside and outside windows has a greater effect (if you can reach). For a double boost, clean all the mirrors and glass in your picture frames.


Hooray for light!  I’d die without it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Baby Girl’s 1st Birthday!

First of all, I have to say that a birthday for me is generally not a one-time event…it can easily be a couple of parties to make up the whole “birthday”.  I think this comes from being in a family that would have a party on each of the grandparent’s side and then our own little celebration on the day.

I was so excited to have a girl (not that I don’t love my little man) I have always wanted to go all out on the girly theme…so that’s exactly what we did.


For the beginning of our celebrations, we were visiting family in Utah for Christmas and my baby girl’s first birthday is four days after Christmas, we decided to have a party while we were there.  I made royal icing roses before we left for our trip and kept them in a shoe box lined with tissue paper until it was time to use them.

I also insanely decided to make a banner for her the day before we left too just for some more pizzazz.  No I don’t have a machine to help me cut out letters so I did it the old-fashioned way…printing out letters on my computer and then cutting them out by hand.


I did do one clever thing with the banner though and that’s to put eyelets in all of the holes I made.  This way, my banner is totally re-usable and if I so desire, I can trade out letters for a different color or whatever! I glittered each letter with fine white glitter which was a nice little mess but I think it gave the sign another needed dimension.  I also added the circles with little faux flowers with “gemstone” brads in the middle as spacers when I realized that it’s kind of tricky to read when there’s no spaces (this came from looking at a note my 4-year-old was writing as I was making this that had exactly the same amount of space b e t w e e n  e v e r y l e t t e r and I realized I was doing the same thing).

I decorated the cupcakes the night before the party (which was Christmas) while everyone was watching a movie so they were totally ready the next day when we were ready to set up.  I choose to do them in lemon and filled them with raspberry and then chocolate with chocolate pudding (I hid them in the laundry room…it seemed to work to keep them out of little children’s prying fingers and little lips).


All I did was what I call the classic “twirl” with a large star tip, sprinkled with sugar crystals, plopped a rose on top and finished with a leaf for a little more color (I was considering monochromatic but I think it would have been a little less appealing with a bright pink leaf).

I arranged the cupcakes in the shape of a “1” a little trick I learned from my friend Charisse.


That party was very fun.  I love having parties with family, they always keep things interesting. :)

For the real day which was three days later and the day after we got home from a VERY long drive.  We set up the sign over my girl’s chair and then I made homemade buttermilk pancakes for dinner.  After dinner she got to open a gift from us.  Not too elaborate but I was exhausted!


Our little birthday girl!


Hubby also brought her home some roses…she didn’t get it but maybe someday she will.  The vase I had was a little short so I had the brilliant idea of filling it with river rocks…I really like the effect.


The next celebration we had with our friends who live here in AZ.  I actually did make a cake for this with some of the better roses left from her UT party.  I also colored a bit of icing and made the darker roses for some higher contrast.


Here’s a view from above…


I need more practice I know but I thought it was pretty cute.


I really thought the one candle on the top was pretty funny.  I could not find one single “1” candle at any store I happened to go to.  I wonder if everyone was putting 2011 on their cakes that week or something!

Feel like you’re “catching” something?

I have spent the past two weeks feeling awful.  I had all the symptoms of a cold plus a terrible terrible sore throat.  It has been so frustrating.  I wasn’t so sick that I couldn’t function, but I wasn’t running up to full capacity if you know what I mean.  Plus, even after one week, my sore throat was only getting worse and worse and I was really frustrated with my lack of adult communication.  (One of my pet peeves is that people are often forced to go around exposing everyone with their little illnesses because of work or school or whatever.  Because I am a stay-at-home-mom, I don’t have to worry about that so I usually try to quarantine my family when they’re sick.  Honestly though this makes life so lonely, I feel that it’s important.)

I have been so sick of being sick (and being ms. hermit) that my  aunt recommended I take this:IMG_7216

It actually is supposed to be taken at the first sign of illness (which would mean when my hands start aching) but it worked for me.  After one day of taking this I felt 90% better.  It’s an homeopathic remedy that is made in France and very popular in Europe.  It is amazing!  I found it in the health food section at Fry’s (by the protein drinks of all things).  I am so glad she mentioned it because though it’s pricey it was much cheaper than the take-care clinic (while we wait for our new year’s insurance to kick in).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Simply Darling bows!

When my baby girl had her first birthday a couple of weeks ago, I was really excited by the darling new hair bows that my good friend Charisse and her girls gave to my daughter from her shop.  She has the cutest bows and now that my girl has enough hair to put one directly in she actually keeps them in (at least for a while).


I love this little butterfly bow!  It’s so cute it is for sure my personal favorite!


What the heck! Here’s a picture of my cute girl from this morning while we were working in the yard.  I love this little outfit from Carters….the little ruffle detail on the blouse is darling!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Got a double-dipper?

Now that my husband is coming home about an hour and a half later than he did last year, I have had a really difficult time waiting for him to have dinner before my kids want to eat.  I have read quite a few studies on the importance of “family dinner” and my husband is more insistent on family dinner than I am (probably because he’s not home waiting for one person to come home in order to have said dinner).  I have started giving my children healthy munchies before the meal and that has seemed to help a lot.  One annoying thing has been that when I serve a dip (which in most cases is ranch dressing since I have a little addiction) my 4-year-old double-dips and drives me absolutely nuts!

Thankfully I had an epiphany and realized the best solution for such things:IMG_7143 Use a plate that has individual sections designed for kids who don’t like their food to touch!  Then you just designate who gets which section.  No more worries about excess saliva ruining the consistency of my dressing!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Safe-Keeping for Next Christmas…

Every year on the four Sunday’s proceeding Christmas, we celebrate “Advent” which is a German holiday where we light a candle (first one on the first Advent, two on the second…etc).  We enjoy singing carols and then we like to have a special snack or treat.  In our family, I made it a tradition to give the children who are present, a gift to help them feel the spirit of the season….which usually ends up being a beautifully illustrated book.

As I have so many seasonal books, I have been looking for either a crate or something to keep them in so that they are more special when I pull them out along with the decorations.  I was so excited last night when I found this beautiful big, square, basket; even big enough for the largest books!IMG_7141

This is now going in my closet where the temperature is controlled (an important thing when storing books) and where little hands and eyes will forget about them for about eleven months and they will be more magical because of it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sneaking in Exercise….while doing laundry!

Of all the household chores there are to do, I LOVE LAUNDRY.  I think the thing I really like about it is that it can be in the machine while I organize other things and/or fold and then it looks so tidy once everything is put away.  Plus the really wonderful thing is you don’t have to get on your hands and knees and worry about touching anything too disgusting…you throw anything yucky in a machine with detergent and the machine takes care of everything for you (and if that doesn’t work…then it might just be time for shopping and/or figuring another use for said item).IMG_7140

To get to the point about sneaking in exercise (because a domestic goddess is always trying to double-duty her time and efforts) is that folding laundry is the best thing for my thighs and buttocks!

I really love this little trick helps me tone up while at the same time I’m doing something that I need to get finished anyway!

Here is what you do:

1.  Place clean items to be folded in a basket by either a bed/sofa/counter  that you will use to place folded items.

2.  For each individual item that you take out of the basket and fold, you must SQUAT, making sure that your feet our hip distance apart and that your knees never go over your toes.  Squat, fold, place, repeat. 

It’s easy!

3.  If you want to add more intensity, try squatting and going onto the balls of your feet at the same time; do plies; and/or keep going for longer periods of time by folding more baskets than one at a time  (I have four baskets so I usually let them pile up until I do this little exercise).

4. Enjoy the after-burn!